Yesterday, Leigh Leopards showed their ambition on the back of their rebrand with some major signings which leaves them with a star-studded squad more than capable of surival and perhaps capable of pushing for play-off rugby next year.
But how will they line-up in 2023? That’s the question we’re trying to answer here.
Fullback: Zak Hardaker
With Caleb Aekins not named in the squad revealed yesterday, new signing Zak Hardaker will likely be their first choice fullback with a chance for the former Leeds and Wigan man to play in his preferred position.
Wingers: Josh Charnley & Blake Ferguson
Josh Charnley is one of Super League’s all-time leading try scorers and the departure of Krisnan Inu will likely see Charnley become the club’s first choice winger though he may have to battle with Tom Briscoe for that role. Blake Ferguson is likely nailed on over on the other side.
Centres: Tom Briscoe & Ricky Leutele
Briscoe may not start on the wing but could figure at centre which is where he has played some of his best rugby recently. It will be a choice between him and Ed Chamberlain with star centre Ricky Leutele set for a spot on the other side. You may notice that Nene MacDonald isn’t included and this is due to the questions still hanging over him with the Centurions still one over the quota allowed for overseas players and Leeds still interested.
Halfbacks: Gareth O’Brien & Lachlan Lam
Lachlam Lam was a great signing for Leigh last year and it will be great to see him shine in Super League alongside another creative player in new signing Gareth O’Brien who may edge out the likes of Joe Mellor and Ben Reynolds.
Props: Tom Amone & Rob Mulhern
Adam Sidlow’s move to Salford leaves a gap at prop which will likely be filled by the signing of Rob Mulhern who will join Tom Amone in the front row.
Hooker: Aaron Smith
Leigh often started Aaron Smith at nine last year to give them stability at the start of the game before the introduction of star Edwin Ipape and that could be the same philosophy next year.
Second-Rows: Ollie Holmes & Jack Hughes
Sam Stone is sadly headed to pastures new it seems but Leigh could have a very exciting new look backrow in the shape of former Warrington duo Jack Hughes and Oliver Holmes who will provide huge experience.
Loose-Forward: John Asiata
After a superb season in 2022, John Asiata is nailed on to be Leigh’s first choice 13 going into 2023. He will cause teams problems in the middle.
Substitutes: Edwin Ipape, Kai O’Donnell, Joe Wardle, Matt Davis
Likened to Luke Yates, Kai O’Donnell is the ideal to bring off the bench for Leigh and will be supported by top notch forwards Joe Wardle and Matt Davis, the latter of which joins from Warrington. As aforementioned, impact sub Ipape could devastate teams off the bench.